potted autobiographies (was Re: decolonising anthropology)
Danny Yee (danny@STAFF.CS.SU.OZ.AU)
Thu, 9 Feb 1995 13:34:21 +1000
Kathi R. Kitner addresses Robert Johnson:
> Since you have caused quite an emotional and intellectual stir on
> anthro-l, I would like to know who you are, other than the mere fact
> that you apparently reside in Colorado. I mean, a big part of being
> ethical is to state your biases, which can usually be covered by
> telling where you came from.
Richard Spear replies:
> Hmmm, should all of us do this, Kathi? This seems an unnecessary
> challenge to Robert ... I'm not sure what qualifications are valid for
> raising ethical concerns about anthropology ... should only
> anthropologists do this?
It's obviously possible to hold valuable discussions with people we
know nothing about. Nevertheless, I think it does help to have some
understanding of people's backgrounds -- context is valuable in many
ways, not just the evaluation of biases.
Perhaps Robert Johnson (or Kathi Kitner, or Richard Spear, or anyone
else) would like to add a short autobiography to the collection I
maintain, which is appended.
Anthro-l Potted Autobiographies
(in alphabetical order)
A more accessible hypertext version is available at URL
As to the professional stuff: I'm a recent Ph.D. from Indiana
University. I did my fieldwork in Venezuela with small-scale fishers
and cooperatives. I taught for a year at IUPUI in Indianapolis, and
currently work for the National Marine Fisheries Service, the
government agency that oversees regulation of marine fishing. I'm
based at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole, MA.
Before grad school, I did a stint as as member of the Planning Dept. of
a regional development corporation in Venezuela.
Other stuff: I got into anthropology at least in part because
we lived abroad a lot when I was growing up -- Ghana, France, Venezuela
(which was how I chose my fieldwork site). I love to sing (art song,
opera, folk music, spirituals). I read science fiction and fantasy
compulsively (from cyberpunk to classics like Asimov and Bradbury and
C.L. Moore to sword & sorcery). In between I read poetry, social
theory, anything by J.D. Salinger or autobiographical writings by
Richard Feinman, and whatever else happens to catch my fancy. I speak
Spanish and French, and originally planned to be a linguistic
anthropologist, not a applied fisheries person -- shows how life turns
out unexpectedly! I love to cook and bake, but tend to be lazy about
food on a day to day basis, saving my efforts for family feasts and
Guess that covers the basics!
I was born in 1950 in Lansing, Michigan, and grew up in northern
Indiana. My father was a physician (obstetrics/gynecology), my mother
a schoolteacher. We were Mennonites. Though we were not among the
highly culturally-conservative ones, I was impressed by the church's
claims to ultimate significance and by the church/"world" dichotomy.
Within months after leaving home at age 19, however, I became a devout
agnostic. I was attracted to anthropology by the popular books by
Desmond Morris and Robert Ardrey. I got my bachelor's at Indiana
University in 1973, my masters ('76) and doctorate ('79) at University
of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Victor Barnouw, who had been a student of Ruth
Benedict, was my adviser. My dissertation was a comparative study of
the schisms that have made Mennonites such a culturally variable group
of sects. I published several papers in psychoanalytic anthropology,
but have grown more and more preoccupied with quantitative theorizing
about cultural evolution. My book in press is *A Scientific Model of
Social and Cultural Evolution* (Thomas Jefferson University Press 1994)
and I am writing an introduction to general anthropology for Harcourt
Brace. I have a wonderful wife and two great daughters 13 and 11. I
play classical guitar, golf, and chess (in order of declining
proficiency), and drive a red '72 Mustang (fastback) which still looks
good if you don't look too closely. I taught for two years at Millsaps
College in Jackson, MS, before coming to Northeast Missouri State. I
enjoy teaching anthropology as an integrative, "eye-opening" experience
for students. I have enjoyed--and benefitted from--ANTHRO-L.
Born into a conventional middle class Seattle family, I got into Anthro
because it was raining outside and have been here ever since. B.A.,
Washington in the epi-boasian era, 1 year at Utah. M.A., Washington
State. At Utah I was both exposed convincingly to White and discovered
that I am no ethnographer, thus became a Cultural Anthropologist, sub
species archaeologist. At Southern Illinois, in the Taylor era, I
meso-americanized until I realized I couldn't critically keep up with
the literature and decided to be the MacNeish of West Africa, I planned
the equivalent of the Tehuacan Project for the Fouta Djallon, but for
personal and geo-political reasons, did Ph.D. research in Sierra
Leone. After a salvage survey in Cote d'Ivoire I turned north and in
70s and 80s had three seasons in The Gambia. In between, local historic
archaeology to provide student opportunities.
Neuro-muscular problems have kept me out of the field since the mid
80s, and a good thing too because it means that with a little luck I
will retire with everything written up. Then, I move to British
Columbia, carry on with Gambian ethnohistory and study vernacular
architecture. Waterloo was a stop-gap (thanks Mike S. for offer at
Purdue but Indiana seemed too much like Illinois) and next month I get
my 25 year Seiko. 3 kids (2 off the rack, 1 custom) range 15-30.
Hobbies: Food (creation- consumption), Creative fermentation,
Architecture, Internet. Red SAAB
Matthew Hill Anthropology Dept. U. Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada
I was born in 1960 in a Detroit suburb, daughter of a research chemist
and a teacher. Dad was an avocational archaeologist who collected
historic pueblo pottery (purchased from the potters, didn't dig 'em
up). I grew up as one of those obnoxious children that volunteers
bring with them to archaeological projects--I got the opportunity to
learn field methods quite young, but also burned out on digging quite
young and perhaps that's why I do ceramic analysis and method and
theory stuff now. I moved to Arizona in 1983, finally finished my PhD
in 1992, married an Oklahoman, also an archaeologist, no offspring or
pets. I drive a red Chevy 4x4 pickup truck with dents in it from
running into tree stumps and parking lot guardrails. I enjoy gardening
and reading fiction of the sort by mostly English women writers,
especially Jane Austen, Barbara Pym, and Angela Thirkell--the sorts of
novels in which nothing much happens but there are a lot of
Maureen Korp (aka, Micki) is not an anthropologist.
I am however variously described as an ethno-historian, a religious
studies person, native religions specialist, social historian,
generalist, interdisciplinary specialist....and poet. I think of
myself as a historian (but, yes, I do work seriously at poetry
and wish I had more time for that)--history of religions, history
of art, and the crossover area of topophilia, which led me into
North American native religions.
I love teaching. I love the classroom more than anything I have
ever done in my life so I am greedy. I want to teach more--not
less. That is why at age 40, having taught adjunct courses in
art history and appreciation for years every chance I had, I
looked at my daughter (raised by me on my own since she was two)
and realised she was 14, the end was in sight--oh glory day! I
could make another run at that PhD, and this time finish it. I
had dropped out of grad school twice before--once to marry, once
to divorce--but I really and truly still wanted to be a teacher.
My income before, after, and since those life events had been
eked out by working in a number of community-based, federally
funded programs many of us will remember by the acronyms--OEO, Model
Cities,Safe Streets, CETA, HeadStart, WIC, and etc., etc. My
particular skill was an uncanny ability to read between the lines
of the Federal Register. It made me a useful person to have
around, so no matter how eccentric the funding cycles I had a
paycheck with which I could support my daughter and myself.
Late in 1980 however, the level of neighbourhood violence in
Trenton had reached a new peak with drive-by shootings plus
packs of children swarming any single person on the street.
I ran. I grabbed my kid and ran.
For years I had been telling her bedtime stories about places
with neighbourhoods where people sat on porches, and there
were stores on the corner where you could go buy a loaf of
bread for your mother, and ride a bicycle to school. And
that is why at the end of 1980, my daughter and I came to
live in Ottawa, Ontario. I was right about all those things:
Maggie could and did ride a bicycle to school in Ottawa. She also
learned to skate and ski and go wilderness camping and read
Latin and French--and she's engaged to a terrific guy from
northern Ontario. My daughter has become Canadian in all the
best ways, I think.
I, however, remain a border-straddler. When my hunger for a
classroom returned, it was because I knew I had done what I
was supposed to do as a mother, but I still had work to do
which mattered to me. I grew up as an Army Brat. Before I was
16 years old, we had moved 13 times. Cold War moves, hurry up,
relocate, and wait moves--Germany, Japan, Okinawa, Oklahoma,
Texas, and other exotic places like that. When I entered
university (Douglass College, class of 1966, philosophy), I
was the first one in my family to go to school, I was a scholarship
student, and I had never been on a college campus. I had crossed
the ocean alone to get to that campus and I was in a state of
culture shock for years thereafter. My teachers got me through.
Certainly not my family. Always it was my teachers who carried
me, always it was my teachers who made it plain they
delighted in watching me learn. So I learned. A lot. I was
not an A student. I always bit off far more than I could
chew as an undergraduate. However, those ideas I had then are the
ideas I pursue now. I just had to grow into (or up to) them!
Graduating from Douglass in 1966, I entered NYU in Philosophy,
that year, and soon dropped out. In 1976 (after occasional
courses at VCU and Ol'Miss), I finished an AM in Art History
at Rutgers. That was followed by a diploma in public
administration courtesy the US Dept.of Labor. In 1985, Univ.
of Ottawa did not accept any of my courses as equivalent to
theirs and,as Religious Studies was one of the few doctoral
programs I had any hope of completing in English, I started
again at the fourth-year level of undergraduate courses,
completing an MA in religious studies in 1987 with a thesis
on burial mounds, and a PhD in 1991 in religious studies.
Followed that with a nifty two-year post-doctoral fellowship,
and was named an AAR/Lilly teaching fellow last year and
this year I was named an alternate in the US/Canada Fulbright
competition. (I'm now a dual US/Canada citizen. I vote early,
often, and everywhere.)
Several books, including:
_The Sacred Geography of the American Mound Builders_(1990).
_Buffalo and Garden: The Contemporary Artist's Sacred Landscape_ (in press).
_Eye of the Artist: Shamanism and Contemporary Arts_ (in progress, only
two more chapters to write!)
I remain however the perennial job applicant--in part because I am
all grown up (and nearly 50), in part because I am a nontraditional
PhD--native religions and not myself native. Fortunately, I live
in Canada. Universal health insurance and membership in a nonprofit
housing co-op make it possible for me to teach and write and dream.
And the anthro list provides community. I am grateful.
With all best wishes to everyone,
John H. Langdon
I am a biologist anthropologist (Yale PhD 1984) employed in a biology
department teaching anatomy to physical therapists. I was strongly
influenced in high school by books of Loren Eisley, Robert Ardrey, and
Desmond Morris. Thus when I lost interest in biochemistry and was
really turned on by a course on anthropology of religion by Evon Vogt,
I changed to anthro. Although I call myself a paleoanthropologist/
functional anatomist, I would prefer to think of myself as somewhat of
a generalist with interests and teaching overlapping the three primary
subfields and many outside of anthro. However, it is hard to be a
generalist these days. I have spent 10 years trying to live down my
dissertation -- I don't only do feet! My compromise has been to try to
draw together my interests in my teaching. Thank goodness for small
liberal arts schools that encourage disciplinary breadth and teaching.
Mike Lieber, Associate prof. at University of Illinois at Chicago (but
worked at U. of Washington, Nevada, Oregon, College of Micronesia, and
Bryn Mawr). Am Jewish, though I learned most of what I know about it
from my father, who did n't practice ritual, but had a huge library and
read incessantly. I also learne d my love of competitive argumentation
from him, as he trained me from an early age in a kind of partnership.
When I became an anthropologist, his life was complete, 'cause now we
could argue from better defined positions. I grew up with music and
have played as an amateur and a professional since age 11, starting
with accordion, then trombone (for trad jazz), then strings--guitar,
banjo, andolin, autoharp, harp, dulcimer, langelik, balalaika, bandura,
and string bass and bass guitar. I've continued playing all these
years, mainly in bands but some solo work--clubs, bars, radio, TV, one
film, but only one record, and theater. These days, I play bass in a
bluegrass band. I'm married with two sons--14 and 11, both musicians,
baseball players, and thoroughly delightful human beings. I coach
Little League baseball (and have coached some football) and have just
completed a parents' manual for coaching really young kids. I'm an
enthusiastic cyclist, commuting 7.5 miles to work on a bike except on
the worst days. I do bicycle repair and build bikes as a hobby,
usually for neighborhood kids and friends a who can't afford a real
Who? Me. Born in 1944 in Savannah, Georgia. Grew up in Virginia, near
Yorktown where the last major battle of the American Revolution was
fought. Am old enough to have been to a segregated high school and to
have a fifth grade home teacher who (after we'd said the Lord's Prayer
and the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag and sung the Star Spangled
Banner) made us sing Dixie. Grew up and turned my back on my parents'
(Lutheran) religion. Did philosophy as an undergraduate (Michigan
State) and a Ph.D. in anthropology (Cornell, 1973). Did fieldwork in
Taiwan, wrote a dissertation called "The Symbolism of Popular Taoist
Magic," taught four years at Middlebury College in Vermont. Didn't make
tenure. Spent another year in Taiwan, then three years in New Haven,
CT, where Ruth (my wife) was doing a Ph.D. in Japanese literature at
Yale. Spent first two years househusbanding and taking care of daughter
Katie (who's now 17, going on 18, and deciding where to go to college).
The third year I found a job in the Yale Computer Science Department's
Artificial Intelligence Program and learned about computers. Then Ruth
got a grant that to brought us to Japan. A friend's introduction got me
an editor's job in a small translation cum corporate communications
company. A mutual interest in personal computers led to my meeting my
predecessor at Hakuhodo, Inc. (Japan's 2nd largest advertising agency),
where I started working as a copywriter and am now International
Creative Director. In the last couple of years, I've revived my
academic interests. I've got a paper ("Negotiating with Demons: The
Uses of Language in a Taoist Exorcism" ) accepted by American
Ethnologist that is scheduled to appear some time in 1995 and am
teaching a graduate seminar on "The Making and Meaning of Advertising"
at Sophia University in Tokyo. Ruth, Katie and I share space with four
Yes, he is Jewish. Reform, to be exact, verging on Deconstructionist. Born
in Miami in 1970, he has lived in Florida for most of his life, except for
a brief detour to the DC/Baltimore area for five years (at JHU.) He is
indeed a real-life graduate student at the "goyisha party school," known as
U of F, concentrating on getting his Master's in cultural anthropology.
On the net, he prefers to go by Seeker1, because he can. (And mostly
because this is the custom of most of the cyberhangouts he's visited.) In
general, when it comes to the net, he prefers the fringes (where conspiracy
theorists, UFOlogists, mad scientists, hackers, and other deviants hang
out) to the center.
Favorite music: techno/acid house/rave; also, progressive/alternative/New
Wave (if those things mean anything anymore), punk, ska, World Beat;
favorite author: sci fi writer Philip K. Dick; favorite TV show, The X
Files; favorite BBS: MindVox and the WELL; favorite 'zine: Crash Collusion
and Mondo 2000.
Favorite areas of interest (I couldn't leave this out): cyberculture,
consciousness studies, postmodernity, religious studies, visual
anthropology and (hyper)media studies, sociology of knowledge,
futurism/sci-tech studies, memetics, Haitian Voudoun, Mayan and Hopi
eschatology, "modern primitives."
Cannot resist here making a plug for my favorite cyberpunks, Re:WIRED
(Workshop for the Invention and Research of Electronic Discourse). Re:WIRED
maintains a WorldWideWeb node, the ParaSite, whose URL is
http://www.clas.ufl.edu/CLAS/Departments/Rewired/Re-WIRED.html. I have a
home page there which has lots of neat text files and stuff. This home page
also explains why I use the handle "Seeker1," for those of you who wonder.
Born 1941 in East Liverpool, Ohio in a working class family established
in the pottery and ceramics industry along the banks of the Ohio River, 30
miles from Pittsburgh. Graduated from highschool with the `perfect - C'
average in 1959 . . . then off to Athens, Ohio and Ohio University. My step-
father died in October of '59 of a cerebral hemorrage, and after two years
of emotional floating at O.U (major in psych and minor in theatre) it was
off to DC to take a job with the Navy Dept. under the Kennedy Administration.
Two years, one marriage, a contract stint as a programmer with NASA at
Cape Canaveral and one assasination later - it was time to go back to finish
a BA, which was done at la Universidad de las Americas in Mexico. Thus, after
exposure to a totally different culture with a rich but destroyed heritage . .
.led to a love of anthropology.
When the marriage caved in during the upheavels and drug culture of the
late 60's, after graduation in '65 and after my ex-wife taking off to live
in Zihuateneho and smoke dope, it was on to NYC for a stint in Advertising and
Marketing research with Y&R . . . a scholarship with Uta Hagen's studio and
a few years of off-off broadway work along with earning a better living than
I now do.
In 1970 it was MA time, and a year's field work in Mexico based in
the U. of A. and working with Nahuatl speakers in Guerrero. '71 saw a broken
neck a remarriage and a move to Santa Barbara after the accident. Late '71
saw admittance to the Europeanist program at U. Mass and an eventual MA as
an ethnologist - commuting six months each year to Santa Barbara where my
wife was doing an MA in technical theatre.
'74 was a divorce at the end of the MA program, and '76 was admitted to
UCLA's doctoral program in Anthro plus a remarriage. '76 & '77 saw a
remarriage- a stint at Berkeley with Gene Hammel and George DeVos as a visiting
scholar, a reserch grant that took me to the Gaeltacht in Ireland and Montreal
in Quebec for pilot field work . . . as well as a complete financial collapse
as the economy went through the Carter inflation. The UCLA degree never got
finished, . . . so it was the joint Ph. D. program at Kent State and the
University of Akron in the mid '80's that finally say the degree finished in
'91. After that it was an immediate post-doc with David Heise at Indiana
University to study the sociology/anthropology of emotions (funded by NIMH)
. . . which NIMH killed the funding for totally in 1993.
In the interim, there are ten years of teaching experience and about
twenty of research and consulting . . . as well as the current unemployment
at the end of this stint as a visiting assistant professor with the Anthro.
My interests of course tend to run to general systems, futures, cognitive
and symbolic studies, social problems and social anthropology - with a
massive dose of theory thrown in and theory development.
My daughter is now 16, live with her grandmother in LA. My ex from '76
is a folklore archivist in Middlebury, Vermont . . . and my dog is a seven
year old yellow lab . . . my car an '82 Subaru - my other car a '56 volkswagen
- and both on their last legs.
What I do is study the feasibility of linking culture as a mental system
and culture as a social system . . . thus, my background is broad - generalist
and spans both sociology and anthropology. I'm published, one book in the
works as soon as I can pull together the income to take the pressure off so
that I can finish the final revision for the published (already committed) and
no job . . . not surprising at age 52 just coming onto the job market in
a period of anti-intellectualism and downsizing . . . but a real pain in
My specialization is model building, technique of replicating
qualitative perceptions with empirically measurable data from emic
sources . . . and using that data to predict probable social behaviors . . .
a far cry from the qualitative field work I was trained to do, but
still dealing with the identification of emic meaning and still highly
qualitative in both concept and application.
My guess is that I will draw social security before getting a full-time
academic appointment, especially with the way departments evaluate background
and hire these days - and especially with the strange priorities that have
begun to develop.
My research is neither post-modern nor positivist, rather it leads to
a synthesis that transcends both . . . based on a suggestion made by Bateson:
if the problem can't be solved at one level, analyze it a level higher.
I was born in Chicago in 1931, and was mostly raised there (with the
years from 3rd to 6th grade spent in Milwaukee.) Anthropologically
speaking, all my degrees are from the U of Chicago (A.B., Social
Sciences, 56; Ph.B., Liberal Arts, 56; A.M., Anthro, 59; Ph. D., 71)
but I also attended UCal Berkely (1957-58) and a linguistics insti-
tute (Linguistic Society of America, NOT the Summer Institute of
Linguistics) at U Michigan, Ann Arbor, summer 57. I taught at the
Chicago City Colleges (61-65), U of Minnesota (65-67), and Purdue
(67-70) before coming to Northern Illinois in 1970. I thought I was
only going to be here four years at most. Hah!
Research: dialect geography, Chiapas, Mexico, 58-59; same town, now
as social anthropologist (working on politics and soc org), 60-61 and
many field trips later. Since 1982, I've been working on politics in
Central America (particularly Guatemala and Nicaragua). Other work
was on the social world of CB radio, intergroup relations, folk music
and folk musicians, and the politics of academia.
That's a lot of me, but it just ain't all. Before anthro, and some-
times inbetween, I've had what feels like several other lives:
Quaker/conscientious objector who enlisted in the US Army Medical
Corps in the Korean War; junior pharmaceutical chemist (Armour Labs)
and quality control food chemist (Wilson & Co.); junior accountant
and customer service rep, Texaco Regional Credit Card Office; piano
player and folk singer for money (but too diffident to call myself a
one-time pro musician); traffic director for a small auto parts fac-
tory; traveling salesman; bookstore part-owner; manager, tire and
muffler store; day laborer; Post Office worker (loading sacked mail
on and off Railway Post Offices); part of the gang that founded the
Second City back in the 50's; victim of an FBI Cointelpro operation
in 68-70; other stuff. The first job I ever held (at 14) was as an
operating room orderly, Michael Reese Hospital, which was a helluva
way for a boy to learn about female anatomy. (That was 1945, and a
14 year old could get a work permit in the summer because all the
able-bodied men were off to war, one way or another. OR orderly was
just not thought of as a job a woman could do, for some reason.)
Born in 1952 in New York City and grew up in suburbam Long Island in a
conservative and materialistic family. From almost the outset, I felt like an
"other," feeling disenfranchised in that family and also because of my
disability. It is therefore not surprising that "the other" had an attraction
for me, and I gravitated to anthropology and also folklore. This latter, in
which I got my Ph.d. was something that I also developed an interest in through
the folksong revival. I got all three degrees from Indiana University--my B.a.
in 1975, my M.a. in 1977, and my ph.d. in 1988, although my freshman and
sophomore years were spent at Kirkland College, then the sister school to
Hamilton College, in Clinton, New York. My dissertation was an ethnography of
singing of a border community in Norethern Ireland in which I wrote about how
both Catholics and Protestants in the community use singing as a means of
conflict management. I hope to do more work on expressive culture and violent
conflict. My current research is on patterns of linguistic and cultural
code-switching among traditional singers in New Brunswick, Canada, singers who
are bilingual and bi-cultural.
when I'm not doing anthropology--research, trying to find a job, etc.;--I
am occasionally active in Diversity Theater, a troupe of disabled and
non-disabled actors who do material pertaining to disability issues. I have
also served on the Bloomington Area Arts council, including one year as
secretary. I polay guitar, tin whistle, and sing, which is what I love to do
most of all musically. I swim, do yoga, enjoy good food, and, especially hugs
from good friends.
b. 1949 in Denver Colorado to a father who had returned wounded from
the War and so had begun to study psychology to figure out Why, and a
mother who was more certain about Things and who studied biochemistry.
My birth caused my mother to drop her studies and my father to redouble
his, thus I grew up with lab rats (live) as they spilled over from my
father's psychology Ph.D. and lab rats (dead and pickled) as they
spilled over from my mother's teaching bio-labs in after-school
afternoons waiting to go home. Home was Denver til I was 5, then Iowa
til i was 12, then Delhi, India til 14, back to Iowa, then to
California in the late sixties to People's Park demos and draft
resistance while studying at Stanford U. and hanging out in Berkeley,
and SF. Fled to Uganda in 1970 to visit my parents who were Peace
Corps administrators there, taught science to Ugandan High School Girls
for two years, then back to Stanford to finish degree, and on to
Chicago to study for the Ph.d. Field work in Tanzania, mid-seventies,
and first job in Cape Town SA in 1979. STill here, dangerously
hypereducated with broad interests including staying alive, computers
and programming, south AFrican politics, landscape and langauges, most
aspects of anthro., gardening, keeping my old car running since I can't
afford a new one, food and cooking, an d other things that I have
forgotten at this moment. I dislike cats, find dogs mildly amusing
but don't have one, and, surprisingly, am neither for nor against
I am running after my Master in Urban Anthropology, but I like good
food, great wine and beer. I like taking photo of the wilderness, so
climbing, treking, cannoing and camping is part of my life. I love
cats (I belong to Barbouille and Orphee), dogs and horses.
Anthropology is one of my greatest interest, but I like also marine
life, specially marine mammels)
I have a B.A. in anthropology from the University of Wisconsin. I
wrote my senior thesis on the importance of using cultural context in
evaluating indigenous technologies (in this case specifically raised
fields in the Lake Titicaca Basin of Peru and Bolivia). I am a
practicing anthropologist and I currently work in a small NGO in
southern Bolivia. My latest project is the study of coca use among the
Guaran!. I have various interests but the overall idea that gets my
blood pumping is change. I am interested in broad trends like the
begining of agriculture, cities, war, or just about anything that you
can say involves a group of people and that somehow or other was
"invented" in human history. How do people make broad changes? What
factors cause groups to change the entire nature of their social
organization? How much of this process is accidental and how much is
planned? Of course this all goes on and on, but thatos the general
idea. I am also interested in studying sports from an anthropological
Born in Roswell,NM. My mom got tired of living in a one-bedroom house
while raising five children and washing clothes, including my younger
sister's diapers, on a washboard & so went out one day and secured not
only a job that very same day but also a loan to buy property on which
to build a house. Life with mom was never the same after that for my
My oldest brother, twelve years older than I, was a SF fan so I began
reading SF early -- an early stimulus to my interest in things
psychological and anthropological.
After traveling down side roads -- well, I'm still doing that -- such
as dealing with my feelings about my dad's illnesses (He was declared
legally insane -- sort of a culmination of events of malaria, typhoid
fever, brain concussions) and his sexism (He tried to pull me out of
the 8th grade, as that was "sufficient" education for a girl.), being
the moon in two marriages, etc. -I eventually finished my BA in
psychology and MA in anthropology. I dedicated my thesis to my
(youngest, older) brother, a local artist and muralist, in El Paso,
Tx. He died in December 1991 at the age of 46 from a massive heart
attack. My thesis was an ethnography of muralism in El Segundo Barrio,
a community in South El Paso. Right now, I'm working (working?) on a
Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction. Mostly, I'm scrounging up p-t jobs
to pay bills. I dunno, sometimes I think I'm the quintessential
late-bloomer: I'll bloom after I'm buried. I just hope I'm not senile
by the time I finish the Ph.D. But, thanks to a lot of good friends,
I'm muddling on.
Interests obviously include SF; a friend and I founded a science
fiction club in El Paso. The club has gone on to greater glory -- all
I've done is maintain my membership, & my friend dropped out of the
club. I also hosted a SF program on the El Paso Lighthouse for the
Blind's Radio Reading Program but gave that up (temporarily) when I
went back to college full time. If I can land a full time job again in
El Paso, I hope to revive the SF program. Other interests include
ceramics and making bassoon reeds -- which have also been on hold.
I was born 1969 and am Eurasian (my father is 2nd generation Chinese),
but have been socialised as 'Australian' (whatever that means) and am
technically Jewish (my mother's mother's mother was a practising Jew)!
I make a living as a part-time computer network administrator and devote
the rest of my time to a wide range of subjects of which anthropology is
only the most prominent (I would like to do a PhD in anthropology).
I write book reviews and go bushwalking (hiking) as often as I can, and
am a cat lover.